Verstappen takes Canadian pole with Alonso in P2

Max Verstappen was in a different league in qualifying, quickest in all three segments, taking a fine pole position for Red Bull at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Yet, the star performer was Fernando Alonso, who will qualified his Alpine on the front row and will start ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Rain falling throughout the day in Montreal meant qualifying took place in similar wet conditions to FP3 earlier, which Alonso was fastest.

The Alpine driver beat Sainz to take second position with the final timed lap of Q3, where all the drivers were fuelled to run for the whole session to take advantage of the track drying and the tyres being worked into the optimum working range.

Verstappen was untouchable out from, leading from the off in Q3 and he worked the pole benchmark down to a one minute, 21.299 seconds.

Sainz had looked like he could run Verstappen close after setting the quickest first sector on his final lap, but while he stayed in contention despite losing a fraction in the middle sector, a big slide exiting the final corner meant he dropped enough time for Alonso to get in ahead of his fellow countryman a few moments later.

Lewis Hamilton took fourth for Mercedes, which split its strategy late in Q3 by fitting softs to George Russell’s car, a decision that backfired when George spun at the opening corners on his first lap on the slicks.

Russell dropped from the leading positions to eighth by the end of Q3, with Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher leading in pushing the Briton down by taking fifth and sixth.

Then came Esteban Ocon, while Daniel Ricciardo and Zhou Guanyu rounded out the top ten.

Zhou is one of several drivers to face a post-session investigation for their driving during a slew of off-track moments throughout qualifying or trying to find space in the traffic during the earlier segments.

Q2 began with the drivers split over staying on the full wets used throughout Q1 or switching to the intermediates, with Alonso using that compound the lead the way early on in that segment, just before Sergio Perez caused a red flag going off into the barriers at the Turns 3/4 chicane.

The Red Bull driver was also on the inters, but locked his right front and after snatching the other front brake he slid across the grass and quickly went head on into the barriers.

Although his car did not appear to be massively damaged, Perez took a long time to engage reverse and when he did he was unable to move backwards as his nose was buried in the barriers so was instructed to switch off his engine, with the barriers then needing to be rearranged once his car had been craned away minus its front wing.

When the session restarted after a 12-minute delay, all the remaining drivers headed back on the inters, with a dry line beginning to appear.

Leclerc did not bother to join them as by getting through to Q2 he secured starting ahead of Yuki Tsunoda at the back of the grid thanks to their engine-change grid penalties, but Lando Norris also did not appear at the start of the remaining nine minutes of Q2.

Norris reported an engine issue pre-red flag that confined him to the McLaren garage until there were just two minutes to go as the team tried to find and rectify the issue and, although he did get out for one lap, he was soon ordered to pit again after touring several seconds off the pace.

By not setting a time after the red flag, Norris’ banker lap from the start of Q2 left him P14 and behind Perez’s best time from before his off, with Leclerc not taking any part in the middle segment and so being knocked out in P15 ahead of his pre-race grid drop.

With three cars in trouble or not on track, only two drivers were at risk of elimination and when Hamilton leapt up the order with his final lap, the pressure was on Alex Albon, Valtteri Bottas and Ocon.

The first two named set personal bests with Bottas ahead, but Ocon’s improvement with the last lap in Q2, which Verstappen topped, knocked out the Finn.

As in Q3 and Q2, all the drivers generally ran throughout the opening segment as the times improved by around six seconds as they blew the water away from the racing line, other than big puddles of standing water at the apexes of the first two corners and the exit of the hairpin late in the lap, with Verstappen ending up on top.

Pierre Gasly was eliminated in P16, with AlphaTauri reporting that he was suffering from a brake problem on this left front wheel, which possibly contributed to his off late in Q1 across the Turns 9/10 chicane.

Gasly only briefly went off track but by not staying to the left of the bollard in the runoff ahead of the short straight down to the hairpin, he did not follow the race directors’ instructions and so will face a post-session investigation.

Sebastian Vettel was frustrated to be eliminated in P17 after being third in the similarly wet FP3 session earlier on Saturday afternoon, with Lance Stroll’s P18 compounding a miserable qualifying for Aston Martin.

The other home hero, Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, was knocked out in P19, finishing ahead of Tsunoda, who pitted several minutes ahead of the end of Q1 knowing he would start on the back row in any case.

So congratulations to Max Verstappen with this fine pole position. Brilliant to see Fernando Alonso to take P2 and that’s a front row for the Alpine driver. As for Lewis Hamilton, P4 is a solid qualifying effort despite a tricky Mercedes car to drive. Bring on the race!

Canadian Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:21.299
2 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:21.944
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:22.096
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.891
5 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:22.960
6 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:23.356
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:23.529
8 George Russell Mercedes 1:23.557
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:23.749
10 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:24.030
11 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:26.788
12 Alex Albon Williams 1:26.858
13 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:33.127
14 Lando Norris McLaren No time
15 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:34.492
16 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:34.512
17 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:35.532
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:35.660
19 Charles Leclerc Ferrari No time
20 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:36.575

5 thoughts to “Verstappen takes Canadian pole with Alonso in P2”

  1. Canadian Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    In treacherous conditions for qualifying at the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix, it was Max Verstappen who kept his head to claim his first pole position of 2022 since Imola – with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso set to join him on the front row after a stunning run from the Spaniard.

    Lapping on intermediate tyres on the drying Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Verstappen clocked a time of 1m 21.299s, leaving him a full 0.645s clear of the pack, headed by Alonso – who will make his first front row start since taking pole in Germany 10 years ago.

    Completing the top three was the Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, whose team mate Charles Leclerc is set to start P19 after taking on new power unit elements. Lewis Hamilton showed his wet weather prowess to take P4, ahead of a fine performance for the Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher, sharing the third row in P5 and P6.

    Esteban Ocon claimed P7 ahead of the second Mercedes of George Russell – an attempt to set a lap on slicks in the closing stages coming to nought for the Englishman, as he spun at Turn 2 – with Daniel Ricciardo heading Zhou Guanyu. The Chinese driver was making his first ever Q3 appearance, but will be investigated after the session for an infringement at Turn 14.

    Valtteri Bottas was 11th, ahead of the Williams of Alex Albon, then Sergio Perez – who crashed his Red Bull out of Q2, bringing out red flags – ahead of Lando Norris, the Briton experiencing a power unit issue.

    Leclerc was P15, but will fall back with his penalty, promoting Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi, who all dropped out in Q1.

    Yuki Tsunoda will bring up the rear of the field, having also taken engine penalties for power unit changes.

    Q1 – FP3 stars Vettel and Gasly fail to make it through, as both Canadians drop out

    Race Control made no bones about the weather conditions ahead of qualifying, confirming that the risk of rain was 100% – with all the runners duly spending the opening segment on the extreme wet tyres. “Plan is to get a time on the board early with the risk of red and yellow flags,” Pete Bonnington, Hamilton’s engineer, radioed to his driver. “I can’t see a lot ahead of me,” Hamilton retorted.

    Conditions were certainly tough – but the 20 drivers set to lapping the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with Max Verstappen leading the way with a 1m 32.219s, ahead of the Alpine of Alonso, driving beautifully in the wet, having led FP3 in similar conditions.

    Q1 would witness some big scalps, with Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel both falling foul of the conditions and dropping out – the pair having been P2 and P3 in FP3, Vettel audibly frustrated over team radio.

    There was disappointment for the home crowd too, with both Montreal-born racers Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi going out in Q1, along with the second AlphaTauri of the engine penalty-hit Yuki Tsunoda, who took P20. Charles Leclerc, who will also start at the big of the grid after taking a raft of new power unit elements, progressed through to Q2 in P5, while Alex Albon also impressed to make his and Williams’ first Q2 appearance since Bahrain.

    Knocked out: Gasly, Vettel, Stroll, Latifi, Tsunoda

    Q2 – Verstappen heads Alonso again as Perez smash brings out red flags

    A handful of drivers swallowed their brave pills and headed out for Q2 on the green-walled intermediates, Hamilton – who went out on wets – saying conditions were “definitely on the crossover, very close”.

    Albon and Perez may have begged to differ, the intermediate-shod runners both finding the wall at Turns 6 and 3 respectively early in the segment, the two drivers aquaplaning off and hitting the barriers.

    Albon’s impact seemed innocuous enough, causing little visible damage – although Williams did change his front wing – but Perez both damaged his own front wing and was unable to find reverse on his RB18, leaving him wedged in the TECPROs and bringing out a red flag.

    The Mexican was forced to climb out of the car and trek through the parkland back to the paddock, his quali over on a day when Red Bull would have loved to press home their advantage over the grid penalty-hit Leclerc.

    Despite Albon and Perez’s hits, all the remaining runners headed back out on the inters for the remaining nine minutes, bar Leclerc – happy to park it up given his penalties – and Norris, who reported a power unit misfire on his McLaren, the Briton heading out with three minutes to go before retreating to the pits, his issue clearly not resolved.

    With the track improving, the times were tumbling, but the top two wound up the same as Q1, Verstappen leading Alonso again with a 1m 23.746s. Joining Perez, Norris and Leclerc in the drop zone were Bottas and Albon – the Thai driver with his best qualifying of the season, but not quite enough to give Williams a first Q3 of the year.

    Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu did notch up his first ever Q3 appearance in P7, as Mick Schumacher also impressed with his second ever appearance in the top 10 shoot-out, joined by his Haas team mate Kevin Magnussen. Those Haases, the Mercedes and the Alpines were the only three teams with both cars into Q3.

    Knocked out: Bottas, Albon, Perez, Norris, Leclerc

    Q3 – Verstappen and Alonso 1-2 once more as Dutchman claims pole

    With conditions the way they were, you wouldn’t have bet against anyone taking pole position in the Montreal dreich on Saturday.

    The opening gambit saw Verstappen leading Sainz and Alonso, Schumacher doing well to slot into P4. But the track was changing minute-by-minute, corner-by-corner, with the times continuing to improve.

    Was it dry enough for slicks? George Russell thought it was worth a punt but came a cropper in Turn 2, spinning into the grass in a move that would leave him P8. Nothing ventured…

    Verstappen was flying though, and duly banged in a 1m 21. 299s on his final lap to take his 15th career pole. But it was Alonso who was entertaining the crowd, the two-time champion power sliding past the Wall of Champions on his final effort to claim P2 – Alonso surprisingly the fastest Spaniard, as he pipped his protégé Carlos Sainz, who took third.

    Hamilton claimed his first top-four start of the year, ahead of the delighted Haas boys, Magnussen and Schumacher – as Ocon, Russell, Ricciardo and Zhou rounded out the top 10 after a memorable Canadian qualifying.

  2. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen admitted that slicks gamble was “never on” in Canada qualifying. provides the full story.

    Max Verstappen says switching to slicks late in Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix qualifying was “never on” for Red Bull, viewing it as too much of a gamble.

    Verstappen claimed pole for F1’s first race in Montreal since 2019, as he topped all three segments of a wet-but-drying qualifying session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, while his title rivals Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc qualified well down the order.

    The field ran full wets throughout Q1, but several drivers headed straight out on intermediates in Q2 – with most staying on the green-walled rubber for the rest of the session even as a clear dry line appeared with rain stopping and the cars clearing water away, particularly towards the end of the Montreal track.

    Mercedes driver George Russell did switch to soft slicks ahead of the final runs in Q3, whereas the rest of his rivals in that segment took new inters.

    The move backfired for the Briton as he went off at the second corner, where a large puddle of standing water at the slowly-draining apex meant he had to steer wider to the left on the still damp section of track. He ended up spinning and sliding backwards into the barriers.

    “It was just too wet in some places,” Verstappen said of Red Bull’s consideration for getting off the inters. “Like, Turn 1, Turn 2, I think out of Turn 4 all the way into Turns 5/6 – so for me it was never on.

    “Of course, it was only like 2.5-seconds [away from the predicted crossover lap time], but you cannot take that gamble in qualifying. So, for me it was never on.

    “But the other places on the track it was quite dry, so also to manage your inter over a lap was quite a handful.”

    When asked by how he had driven to keep his inters hot enough to provide good grip through the still-wet opening corners but then not wear them out around the dry latter section late in the final qualifying segment, Verstappen replied: “That was mainly in Q3 just because the track was dry in some places and I felt like actually on the first lap the tyres were in the best condition.

    “But, of course, the track keeps on drying, so that’s why on the second lap you improve. The tyre grip was not perfect and so you just tried to not kill the front tyres in the beginning of the lap, basically, and make sure that towards the end of the lap you still had that little edge on the front too make sure that the car turns.”

    Saturday’s FP3, where he spun off late-on, and qualifying sessions marked the first time Verstappen had driven in the wet in Montreal, but the world champion said just getting the wet weather tyres to work at their best was more important than discovering the grippiest different lines in such conditions.

    “Always the first time [driving a track in the wet] you try a few different things where you think the grip is,” he explained. “And especially also trying to get the tyres to work was the most important thing, not even the line.

    “As soon as it started to dry out, then the tyres started to work finally a little bit and it was fun to drive.”

  3. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso went “all in” for Formula 1 front row lap in Canada qualifying. has the details.

    Fernando Alonso says he needed to go “all in” for his final qualifying lap at the Canadian Grand Prix which yielded his first front-row start in Formula 1 in 10 years.

    The two-time F1 world champion acted as Max Verstappen’s closest challenger throughout qualifying, having also topped the wet final practice on Saturday, with his final Q3 lap putting him on the front row alongside the Red Bull driver who claimed pole.

    It marks Alonso’s first front row qualifying result since he took pole at the 2012 German GP and capped an impressive performance by the Alpine driver in tricky conditions.

    With the track drying as qualifying progressed, despite it not being dry enough for slick tyres, Alonso explained he was in the dark on what lap time to target given all drivers were improving by large margins every lap.

    As a result, Alonso felt he needed to take risks on the slippery surface and commit to putting in his best lap without worrying about what his rivals were doing.

    “It was very difficult to execute qualifying because we were a little bit blind on what are the times and which position we were,” Alonso said. “We were not informed because every lap we were improving by one or two seconds. I think it was too much of a change constantly on the times, so it was all in, for sure, on the last lap.

    “You went through each lap and you improved by a second so it was completely unexpected, the grip that you would get, on the following corner, so you have to guess and you have to go for it. I wanted to put in a good lap and everything was fine.”

    Alonso also felt finding a strong set-up with his Alpine while quickly adapting to the changing conditions was key to his qualifying performance.

    But with the race set to be dry and faster cars starting behind him, he expects the race to be a different challenge.

    “I think it was a combination of things, as it was not a normal qualifying, not a normal day,” he explained. “FP1 we had a very dirty track and had to clean the track, FP2 it was getting better and more normal and then FP3 was wet and qualifying was semi-dry, so we never had two consecutive sessions with the same conditions.

    “You really had to adapt really fast to those new conditions that you were facing, so it seems we had the right confidence in the car, a good set-up, so I think it is down to the team 50% and then 50% down to the driver.

    “Everything was OK today but it doesn’t mean anything because the race is tomorrow and if you make a mistake then you have zero points, as there are no points on Saturday.”

  4. This was the best qualifying result for Lewis Hamilton with P4 for Mercedes. The seven-time world champion said this was “awesome” and this Canada Formula 1 qualifying felt like his debut. has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton said his excitement level matched that of his Formula 1 debut in Australia in 2007 after he qualified fourth on a wet-but-drying track in Canada.

    Hamilton achieved the best Saturday result of his troubled 2022 season after what he called a “disastrous” Friday when his Mercedes team tried a revised floor in FP1, which was quickly discarded.

    It also came after he had just a few days to recover from the battering that his back took in the Azerbaijan GP, when he struggled to get out of the car at the end of the race.

    “I can’t tell you how happy I am!” said Hamilton when asked by if he was satisfied with the outcome of the difficult session.

    “Me and Ang [physio Angela Cullen] had the biggest hug at the back of the garage, because we’ve both been working so hard, and then obviously this past week was a real challenge. And I’m so grateful to have her with me every day to just work through the pain and get my body right and then to come here with a car still we’re struggling.

    “We know on pure pace in the dry we’re still a long way off. But to get top five in qualifying in those conditions is awesome. I think it’s my highest qualifying this year. It feels very, very similar to getting my first qualifying in Australia in 2007 in terms of the excitement.”

    Hamilton’s life was made harder during the session by an imbalance between brake temperatures that he had to try to correct.

    “It was difficult for everyone,” he said. “I also had big wheel separation of my brake discs. So one brake disc higher than the other, so the other one can pitching.

    “So luckily I was able to fix that on the out lap. We didn’t do like our full mode, because we were doing consistent laps. So I think there was a little bit more time in it.

    “But at the end my tyres were kind of up. As I was doing the in-lap I knew everyone else was on a lap and I was, ‘Ah Jesus, please!’”

    Hamilton admitted that he had considered joining teammate George Russell in a move to slick tyres at the end of Q3, but he decided that the track still wasn’t dry enough. Russell spun into the barrier as he started his flying lap.

    “It was definitely a consideration,” Hamilton said of slicks. “I think it was drying quite quick. And there were definitely some points of the track which were looking to be dry. But for me, it felt too big a gamble, especially with this temperature.

    “So I we decided to stay on the inters. And actually I think it was the right way. I think it still needed maybe another 10 minutes maybe or so before it went to slicks.”

    After his difficult Friday, Hamilton and his team made wholesale changes to the car overnight, and he is much more confident going into Sunday’s race. He indicated that he has opted for a lower drag rear wing than his teammate.

    He added: “Yesterday was really tough. Basically what happened is we’re trying like all these different things in the car, hole in the floor and all sorts. We have much, much different set-ups yesterday and we always were hoping one of them was right. And my one was not nice to drive!

    “And that’s why I really struggled to be consistent with it. Then we come together at night, we share our opinions on it, and we’ve now kind of narrowed down.

    “And then before qualifying we had to decide whether we take a big wing or the smaller wing for the race for a small potential gain in qualifying. That’s the direction George went, and I’ve prepared for tomorrow. So I’m hoping it’s the right one, and gives me the best race car for tomorrow.”

  5. Fernando Alonso says Alpine should “realistically” aim to finish Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix in fifth place, despite qualifying second behind Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

    Alonso has been in fine form throughout F1’s return to Montreal for the first time since 2019 – not finishing outside the top five in any practice session (he topped the wet FP3 running) and then pipping fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz to second in qualifying after the Ferrari driver’s efforts to ace the final turns in Q3 went awry.

    Second in Montreal qualifying was Alonso’s best F1 grid spot since he started on pole at the 2012 German GP back when he raced for Ferrari, but the two-time world champion is not assuming that will lead to a podium finish or better in Sunday’s race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

    This is because Alonso fears the pace advantage enjoyed so far by 2022 frontrunners Red Bull and Ferrari means Verstappen and Sainz will do battle for the win, while Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc attempt to recover up the order from their lowly grid spots.

    If they do that – likely aided by the high possibility of a safety car intervention at an effective street track – Alonso reckons beating Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to fifth would still be “like a win” for Alpine.

    “Realistically, I would say the top five is what we should fight for,” Alonso said of his race expectations in the post-qualifying press conference.

    “We have a very good starting position, but we know our limitations and we saw in many races already that Ferrari or Red Bull starting last or having a puncture in lap one or whatever, they still finish with a good margin in front of us.

    “So, I think the top four places are locked. Fifth is [therefore] like a win for us and that’s probably the spot that we should aim for.”

    When asked about how he sees the start of the race playing out from his front row starting spot, Alonso said his “goal is to lead the race in lap one”.

    He continued: “So, Turn 1, maximum attack! And then after that they [Verstappen and Sainz] can go and they can fight. But it would be nice – sweet – to lead the race.”

    Although Alonso says Alpine is “still missing a little bit of downforce, a little bit of total grip in the car”, he praised the team’s work to set-up its car to work well in the various conditions that the drivers have encountered in Canada.

    “We’ve been working a lot on the tyre degradation [in dry Friday practice] – also a lot of set-up changes [to try and help with that],” he said.

    “So, I think we are better prepared than any other race so far this year, so let’s finish the job.”


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